OLYMPIC COACH PROFILE; Maarit Teuronen – Boxing (Finland)
As recently as the early 1990s, boxing gyms were bastions of masculinity where few women would?tread. Slowly but surely, female boxers broke down those barriers to carve themselves not just formidable?reputations in the ring, but inspirational, decades-long careers.
Taking her first steps in the ring in?1993 was one of those pioneers,?a 19 year-old Finnish woman by?the name of Maarit Teuronen.?Initially attracted to the sport?simply for exercise, two years?later she was crowned Finland?National Champion, a title she?would go on to win an incredible?eight times.
?From that first day at the gym in?my hometown of Tampere, my life?has been all about boxing. I tend?to do things for as long as they?re?fun, and what could be more fun?than boxing!?
…said the enthusiastic?Teuronen, who has since gone on?to become a successful coach.?The Finnish star ended her career?with 150 top-level bouts to her?name, representing her country at?the very first Women?s European?Championships in France and?the inaugural Women?s World?Championships in USA in 2001,?before hanging up her gloves in?2009 at the age of 35. By that?time she had already begun?coaching, making the transition to?the other side of the ropes both?easily and effectively: In 2013?the Finnish Boxing Association?named her Coach of the Year.
?I work through joy and?happiness. Even now when?I?m coaching, giving up doesn?t?exist in my vocabulary and the?best moments are when I see?my boxers outdoing themselves?in hard fights. That?s when I feel?I have succeeded nowadays.?I hadn?t planned to become a?coach, it?s just something that?happened, and I?m happy for that.?I believe I have so much more?to give in boxing, and coaching?female boxers is fantastic,?
Veteran Finnish lightweight Mira?Potkonen, herself a seven-time?Finnish champion, double Nordic?Champion and triple bronze?medalist at the European Union?Championships, is the famous?coach?s current star, and hoping?to make history as Finland?s?first female boxer at an Olympic?Games.
?For me as a coach, it?s important?to be able to develop my own?skills as well as making good?relations with other coaches?around the world. A great?example of that was the AIBA?3 Star Coaches Course I took?part in Almaty, Kazakhstan in?2013. It was challenging but?fun to be the only female coach?surrounded by around 50 male?coaches and all working together?towards the same goal, to?become AIBA 3-Star Coaches.?That?s one dream come true,?now my current dream is a spot?at the Rio Olympics with Mira?Potkonen.?